By Corinne Murdock |
Over the weekend, the Arizona Republic featured an opinion article from an illegal immigrant activist advocating for citizenship rights for himself and others.
The illegal immigrant activist, Arizona State University (ASU) college student Angel Palazuelos, interns with the illegal immigrant activist group Aliento. Palazuelos refers to himself as “undocumented,” a euphemism for those who remain illegally in America after immigrating illegally.
“I belong here. This is my home, and I have done more than enough to prove it,” wrote Palazuelos. “The struggles of undocumented individuals like me are often overlooked in the broader conversation.”
Palazuelos is a rising senior at ASU, where he studies biomedical engineering. He receives in-state tuition rates due to the recent passage of Proposition 308, a leftist dark money-backed ballot initiative which conferred the benefits of reduced tuition rates to illegal immigrants.
Palazuelos has also served as the face for advancing illegal immigration reform for years. Prior to joining up with Aliento, Palazuelos said his dream was to become a mechanical engineer. Now, he hopes his activist efforts will enable him to become an immigration lawyer.
In 2020, the New York Times featured Palazuelos following his high school graduation, depicting him as a youth whose “life has been punctuated with uncertainty, anxiety, and fear.”
The author of the Palazuelos feature, Fernanda Santos, writes currently for The Washington Post, teaches at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, and serves as the editorial director for the Futuro Media Group.
In a 2021 interview with ASU’s student newspaper, Palazuelos complained that he had to find outside scholarships to afford college since he didn’t qualify for in-state tuition rates. Four months later, Palazuelos received financial aid from the governments of both his home country and the U.S.: he received $5,500 as one of the 30 recipients of the Empowering Diversity Scholarship issued by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Fiesta Bowl. Palazuelos also received $2,000 from the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix and the nonprofit Friendly House. The Mexican Consulate funding comes from the Mexican government’s Institute for Mexicans Abroad, which is then applied by individual, U.S.-based consulates.
Earlier in 2021, Palazuelos claimed in an Aliento video feature that his dreams of studying engineering were “crushed” because of his immigration status.
Now, in anticipation of soon graduating with his engineering degree, Palazuelos said he plans on attending law school to become an immigration attorney. However, Palazuelos claimed that current employment laws prevent him from working, or even receiving an internship. Palazuelos has been admitted to multiple internships and programs throughout his life.
Palazuelos met with Gov. Katie Hobbs in February to lobby for the “Promise for Dreamers” program. Hobbs’ plan would set aside $40 million for college scholarships for illegal immigrants. On average, over 3,600 illegal immigrant youth graduate from Arizona high schools annually.
According to Palazuelos’ most recent testimony, when he was five years old his family immigrated illegally from Culiacán Sinaloa, Mexico into the country exactly three days after the deadline to qualify for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program instituted by former President Barack Obama. He claimed to not be a DACA recipient, though on social media and in interviews he refers to himself as a “dreamer” — the descriptor used to identify DACA recipients. Palazuelos also identified himself as a DACA recipient for a feature article by ASU’s marketing team in 2020.
That’s not the only inconsistency: elsewhere, Palazuelos claims he immigrated when he was four, then five, then six years old. His timeline for missing DACA eligibility has also shifted: in a 2021 article, Palazuelos told the Arizona Republic that his family missed the deadline by two days, not three. Yet in 2020, Palazuelos told the New York Times that he qualified for the program and intended to apply, but was unable to because the Trump administration rescinded DACA.
Aliento, the organization where Palazuelo served as both an intern and a fellow, was co-founded by a DACA recipient: Reyna Montoya. Like Palazuelo, Montoya also attended ASU; she graduated with political science and transborder studies degrees, then a master’s degree in secondary education.
Also like Palazuelo, Montoya lamented the consequences of illegal immigration. Montoya founded Aliento in 2016, claiming “compounded trauma and education barriers” from growing up as a DACA recipient. Montoya was 10 years old when her mother smuggled her from Tijuana, Mexico to Arizona.
In the summer of 2021, the Arizona House awarded Aliento for advocating for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Aliento leadership also has ties to the liberal think tank behind the cover-up of Hunter Biden’s corruption.
In his opinion article over the weekend, Palazuelos petitioned Congress to confer permanent citizenship to himself, his family, and other illegal immigrants like them.
The taxpayer-borne cost of educating illegal immigrants is nearing the billions annually. In 2020, the most recent data available, illegal immigrant children cost Arizona public schools over $748 million. 99 percent of those funds came from local and state taxes, not the federal government.
Palazuelos’ mother, Daisy, claimed in an interview with Aliento that her children have “suffered” because of immigration law. Daisy issued her remarks in Spanish.
“[M]y children and our, as a whole community, has already suffered enough,” said Daisy. “This is not just. This is an opportunity we cannot wait for. We need it now.”
It’s unclear what suffering Palazuelos endured.
He revealed across his many media interviews over the years that his high school experience lacked for nothing. All while reportedly maintaining a 4.7 GPA, Palazuelos was able to take honors and Advanced Placement (AP) classes, as well as enjoy a wide variety of extracurriculars in high school. Palazuelos also delivered a speech to his graduating class.
Palazuelos played volleyball, baseball, and cross-country; he participated in an engineering CTE program where he was certified through programs like SolidWorks and AutoCAD; he served as president for his school’s Spanish Honor Society; he was a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Mathematics Honor Society, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan (MEChA), the ACLU of Arizona; and he served as a student strategist for the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.
Palazuelos also interned for Puente Human Rights Movement, and participated in a Harvard University summer program, Summer Business Academy. Palazuelos successfully crowdfunded the $2,000 to pay for the program.
Puente Human Rights Movement allegedly assisted Palazuelos in a petition to remove school resource officers off Phoenix Union High School District campuses, for which Palazuelos alleged to The New York Times that he was threatened with deportation. Palazuelos also led demonstrations at the Phoenix Police Department and the ICE detention center.
“The system is the one we need to dismantle,” said Palazuelos in a 2020 ASU feature interview.
“Being undocumented is knowing that despite doing everything right, you will never be ‘qualified,’” stated Palazuelos.